Preparing Your Child for
the Arrival of a New Baby
Happy New Year from Childbirth Graphics!
The arrival of New Year’s Day is especially exciting for the growing families that are expecting a new baby in 2019. Welcoming a new baby means big changes for everyone in the family, including older children as they adjust to their new roles as big brothers and big sisters.
At Childbirth Graphics, our team is thrilled for Childbirth Graphics Director of Sales & Marketing Elisa Smith and her family, including big sister Clara, who are eagerly anticipating the birth of twin boys. As they get ready for the babies’ arrival, Clara’s parents are also working to prepare her for the many changes that lie ahead and her role as big sister.
Congratulations to everyone expecting a new member of the family in 2019! If a new baby will be joining your family, here are some steps you can take before and after your baby is born to help an older child adjust and ease the transition for everyone.
prepares daughter Clara for twin brothers.
Before Your Baby Is Born:
- Show your child photos or video of when she was a baby. Talk about how little she was and how she couldn’t talk, walk, or feed herself.
- Read stories with your child about becoming a big brother or big sister.
- Give your child a new doll to help him practice taking care of a baby. Show him how you must be gentle with a newborn.
- Visit friends with a newborn so that your child can see how small a newborn is.
- Involve your child in prenatal visits when appropriate so that she can meet your healthcare professional and hear the baby’s heartbeat.
- Check into sibling preparation classes and tours at your birthing facility.
- Be honest with your child about what it will be like when the baby first comes home. Explain to him that the baby will need a lot of care and that it may be awhile before he can play with the baby.
- Ensure that any major changes in your child’s routine —such as toilet training, switching beds or bedrooms, or starting child care—are well established before your baby’s birth. Or postpone these changes until after the baby is settled at home.
- Involve your child in preparations for the baby’s arrival, such as planning the baby’s room or choosing the baby’s coming-home outfit.
- Prepare your child for when you will be away at the birthing facility. Let her know who will be caring for her while you are away.
tips for parents to help prepare their older child for a new baby.
After Your Baby Is Born:
- Allow your child to visit you at your birthing facility shortly after your baby is born.
- Expect your child to have a few setbacks when the baby first comes home, such as returning to bedwetting or using a bottle. Respond with reassurance of love and praise for good sibling behavior.
- Ask visitors to spend some special time with your child when they come to see the new baby.
- Allow your child to help you care for the baby in an age-appropriate way if he wants to help. A younger child can bring you diapers or other supplies, and, with your supervision, an older child can help change diapers or comfort the baby. Praise him for being a good helper.
- Acknowledge and allow your child to express any negative feelings that she has about the new baby and family changes. Help her express negative feelings in healthy ways. Make it clear that no hurting is allowed.
- Set aside some special one-on-one time with your child each day, such as when the baby is sleeping. Assure him that he is special and you love him as much as always.
If you have any questions about how to help prepare your child for the transition of becoming a big brother or big sister, talk to your child’s healthcare professional.
For more information about our parenting education products, please visit our Parenting Section.
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